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German court rules internet is an essential part of life

ISPs are on the hook if things go wrong
Fri Jan 25 2013, 13:22
A number of network cables

A GERMAN COURT has ruled that people may seek compensation from internet service providers (ISPs) if their internet access is disrupted.

The Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe ruled that the internet is an essential part of life. The court's ruling means that ISPs can be on the hook to pay compensation if their customers suffer problems connecting to the internet.

The court made the decision in a case involving a German man who had been without his broadband internet connection, telephone and fax lines for two months. He had already been compensated for having to use a mobile phone but sought compensation for his lack of internet connectivity.

Since the Karlsruhe Court ruled that the internet is an essential part of life, internet users will be able to claim financial compensation from ISPs should their internet access be disrupted.

A court spokeswoman told ARD television, "The internet plays a very important role today and affects the private life of an individual in very decisive ways. Therefore loss of use of the internet is comparable to the loss of use of a car."

While the court's decision might seem like good news, it could mean that prices will be raised in order to provide services that in effect have service level agreements (SLAs) attached to them.

Many business ISPs offer broadband connectivity with SLAs attached, however they also charge premium prices for those, which businesses can justify after looking at the potential loss of earnings due to downtime.

German consumers that don't place such high importance on internet connectivity might find that they will be footing the bill for everyone to have an SLA on their internet access. µ


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